Shaping the urban future together: the German-Turkish City Partnership Conference
Skyline of Istanbul, partner city of Berlin and other cities, © imageBROKER
Bringing societies together and promoting municipal cooperation – this was the objective of the first German-Turkish City Partnership Conference, which took place this week.
Young people from Osnabrück and Çanakkale meet regularly in the context of exchange visits. The city of Mannheim is supporting the training of Syrian and Turkish women in its partner city of Kilis. Meanwhile, the districts of Treptow-Köpenick in Berlin and Tepebaşı in Eskişehir are conducting a project supporting business start-ups in the social and creative economy that also promotes the integration of refugees. All of these are examples of the wide-ranging exchange made possible by these city partnerships.
Minister of State Michelle Müntefering had the following to say in this regard:
City partnerships are about not leaving cooperation to politicians alone. These partnerships foster connections between people and promote a more profound understanding for one another – at a personal, cultural and political level.
Personal encounters and expert dialogue
There are currently more than 80 official city partnerships in place between German and Turkish cities. Experts and representatives from municipal administrations and youth organisations met virtually for a city partnership conference from 3 to 16 June in order to benefit from joint experiences and to learn from one another.
They shared examples of best practice from German-Turkish city partnerships in the fields of digitalisation, sustainable urban development, protecting marginalised groups and refugees, and youth participation.
Diverse contacts between societies
City partnerships are an important instrument for promoting connections between societies – beyond current day-to-day political developments. They facilitate diverse encounters between people as well as the dialogue on important urban questions of the future.